When 38-year-old left-hander Andy Pettitte announced his retirement from the game of baseball on Friday at a press conference inside the halls of Yankee Stadium, he answered a question about possibly pitching again with a “never say never” type of response. In fact, those were nearly his exact words. Now Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe can add a little fuel to that fire.
Cafardo spoke to a scout this weekend who believes that Pettitte might return at some point. Maybe not this season, but possibly in 2012.
“I get the feeling his career isn’t over,” said the scout. “For one, he can still pitch at a high level. Secondly, he didn’t retire with any conviction. The stuff about going back and forth on whether or not to pitch leads me to believe he’ll decide to pitch again.”
The Yanks were thought to be offering Pettitte a one-year, $12 million contract, and they probably would have sweetened that sum if he had asked. There’s little doubt that they will have interest if he decides to make a comeback next winter.
Pettitte has never relied on high velocities. He averaged under 90 MPH on his fastball last season and has been in the 89 MPH range for much of his career. He’s simply a crafty lefty, and he could probably remain crafty well into his early 40s.
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.